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How can I use preregistration in class?

Why?

Preregistering a student project can have several practical advantages (alongside theoretical benefits)

  • Going through a preregistration questionnaire can help identify open questions and underspecified parts of theory or analysis, because students are forced to think through the entire data collection process. This is especially true in comparison to unstructured exposé-style documents that often focus on the issues which are most straightforward or discussed in the most detail.
  • Once completed, the document helps remind students (and supervisors) of previously made plans and considerations, reducing duplicative discussions later in the project and providing a structure for students to work independently.
  • A preregistration clearly defines the scope of an empirical project, guiding a student through their report. Clearly defined hypothesis alleviate the pressure to find 'interesting' results at any cost, and help assure students of the value of their work regardless of outcome.
  • Students often quickly grasp the aim of preregistrations, and find it motivating to participate in state-of-the-art transparent science.